Personal note: This review was scheduled a month ago and I promised the publisher. So, this is my last review on Goodreads. I've unsubscribed to all nPersonal note: This review was scheduled a month ago and I promised the publisher. So, this is my last review on Goodreads. I've unsubscribed to all notifications and emails, and I won't be logging into this account again. If you wish, you can find me on Booklikes, or the blog. Links are on my profile. Adieu.
Last year I was searching for something new to watch and decided to search the internets for recommendations. I started hearing buzz about Arrow and decided to give it a try. I loved the pilot episode and decided to stick with it as the show searched a firmer footing. I have my favourite characters like Felicity Smoak who keep me interested even when the main plot flounders with the clichéd romantic plot.
Arrow Vol. 1 offers a collections of scenes from the editing room floor in a graphic novel form, which explains its episodic nature. There’s the quick recap almost beat for beat from the pilot, but after that show creators show glimpses of things that were only alluded in the show like Helena’s trip abroad and how China White got that white hair of hers.
I’ve never read the classic comics about Green Arrow or any other comic superhero. I might have glanced at an occasional graphic novel, but I was always more interested in the written word only—I’m trying to learn better now.
This is why Arrow Vol. 1 works for me. I’m reading it just to learn more about the world the show writers have created and its characters. Reading this I got to see what had happened to Diggle before he was discharged and on what kind of tightrope Moira was balancing on. I especially appreciated the absence of detailed island scenes. Those flashbacks are my least favourite part of the show.
Mostly I liked the graphics. The characters resembled—even if only distantly—the actors of the show and even the fight scenes had the familiar choreographic feel to them. The panels were clear and detailed if somewhat grainy on my ARC copy. One thing I didn’t like was the neverending quest for Diggle’s skin tone. David Ramsey who plays Oliver’s bodyguard John Diggle on the show is black, but I couldn’t have known that from looking at most of the panels. At first he was depicted like a barely tanned white person—in Afghanistan—then he was noticeably black on the plane and Russian scenes, but soon went back to lighter shade of brown. The changes in colour couldn’t even be explained by differences in ambient lighting and colouring. It was simply sloppy work.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley....more
I grew up watching action films with my Dad just as I grew up reading Harlequin novels with my Mum. Until I got older and broke out of the predetermined genre preferences, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Mel Gibson—before his descend to cray cray—were my childhood. Die Hard is one of those films I knew by heart and that has stood the test of time better than most. So, when I saw that the book that had inspired Die Hard was available on NetGalley I had to jump on it.
Nothing Lasts Forever was first published in 1979. Die Hard came out in 1988. The book focuses on Joseph Leland, a World War II veteran, retired cop, private detective, terrorism expert, and a security consultant, who just gave up flying his own place seven years earlier. Leland is divorced, widowed, and a grandfather of two. He never liked his son-in-law but has patched up his relationship with his daughter after he stopped drinking and is on his way to see her now. John McClane is a youngish married cop from New York on his way to see his estranged wife and two children for the Christmas. And he just happens to be afraid of flying. Both land in L.A., get a limo drive to a high rise and are in the middle of a phone call when the shooting starts.
As I said, I knew the story going in. There wasn’t a slightest chance that Thorp might surprise me with a plot twist, brutality, or gore. What surprised me was how Thorp filled the pages between the action scenes. Where Bruce Willis fills the solitary scenes with muttering and talking to himself, Leland in the book recounts his personal history. He reminiscences the war as he maps out the empty floors between 32nd and 40th. He laments over his failed marriage, his slightly skewed priorities in life, and friends he’s lost in the war and since the war. And there’s no question of which war he’s talking about. These passages could have easily been mind-numbingly boring but they’re not. They give Leland the room to think and the reader the feeling of time passing. And unlike John McClane, Leland is markedly in pain. He’s weary, tired and struggling each step of the way.
For all the details that the filmmakers changed—characters, relationships, making the company a Japanese conglomerate instead of an American oil company called Klaxxon (I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in)—I was more surprised to see the things that they didn’t change. From bare feet to the safe full of money, from the people thrown out the building to the explosions aside from snapped necks and led poisonings, it’s all there.
This book really is the bare bones of the film.
The film improved on the pacing and mixed some things up, like the bazooka attack happening much earlier in the film than in the book, but it also took a few steps in the wrong direction. Die Hard is a sexist creation and I’m not just talking about the unnecessary scene with a bare-chested woman or the titty pictures plastered on a service tunnel wall. I’m talking about female terrorists. The book has several, the film has none.
The motives and over all causality in the book is much more complex than it is in the film. Aside from the brothers, what motivates the terrorists and Hans Gruber especially is pure greed where as in the book Little Tony the Red has ideological objections to Klaxxon’s dealings in Chile. As the book focuses on Leland alone, it’s natural that the film adds to the character gallery—all additions men—and deepens a characterisation or two, but I would argue that what Al Powell does in the end of the book is far more complicated than any sob story told over the radio could ever be—and possibly worth an essay of its own.
For all their similarities Die Hard and Nothing Lasts Forever are two different creations that work well in their own mediums despite their flaws.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley....more
Earlier this year I saw a wonderful heart-rending miniseries about two young men falling in love in Stockholm in 1980's. If you know your history, youEarlier this year I saw a wonderful heart-rending miniseries about two young men falling in love in Stockholm in 1980's. If you know your history, you can guess how it ended.
I decided to read the books, and I'm glad I did.
It isn't just the love story that's touching, it's the sections where the author describes real history, his own history and the history of Sweden and the world at that time. I kept flashing back to my own school years that came ten years later and comparing them to the sex education described in the book. So much had changed, and yet so little had. Things are still changing, for the better, I hope.
I read both the Swedish original and the Finnish translation side by side. ...more
For a book touted so highly, I found it disappointing.
It wasn’t just the first person limited past tense storytelling. It was so much more than that.
When I started uni, almost a decade ago, this book was recommended to me. It’s why I never watched, or tried to avoid at least, the George Clooney film version and the others. I didn’t want the film and others opinions to taint mine.
Except it did anyway.
I saw just enough of the film to decipher one key lesson about a third into the novel: Loneliness. Regret. Guilt. Anger. Love. Longing. This book is about emotion rather than reason.
Except maybe not quite. The blurb behind the Finnish translation extols the themes Lem wrote about, things that conquer human science: God and faith. And that’s my main problem with Solaris.
There’s a reason why I chose to study physics, mathematics, and chemistry.
I like science. I’m curious. I ask questions. I’d like someone to answer those questions and if they can’t, I’d like to try finding the answers myself. It’s what drives every scientist: The need to know, the need to learn.
A few hundred years ago people relied on open fire and candles to see in the dark, to read (if they were lucky and privileged enough) in the dark and to write in the dark. Then a man called Maxwell came up with a set of equations that changed the world. Here we are a hundred and fifty years later playing with computers, paying with credit or debit cards, and turning a switch to see in the dark, to read and to write in a light as strong as day.
Throughout the book I wanted to know more about its science. I wanted to pick up those books Kelvin was reading or thinking about and I wanted to see the theories for myself. I wanted to learn them. I was mildly entertained and interested in the psychological disintegration of his character, but mostly I just wanted to see the hard data about Solaris and its sea. Maybe this is why I don’t read more science fiction: I get caught up on the science and forget the fiction.
But that’s not what this book is about either.
This book is about reaffirming people’s faith in a science dominated world. And for me, that’s a reason to be scared. As much as believing in something higher is to be admired and respected, I don’t want to turn back the clock to a time when a church could dictate how people should live and what was their precise place in life. I love the comforts science has provided me too much to give them up. I love the rights and freedoms I as a woman enjoy today because of science and Enlightenment.
Believing in science doesn’t mean you can’t have faith. Science answers only the question how, but you with your faith decide the answer to the question why....more
It’s been three months since I read this book and I’m no wiser today than I was then.This review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell-blog.
It’s been three months since I read this book and I’m no wiser today than I was then. I don’t know what to say about a book I loved. I don’t know how to convey… the it factor.
If you haven’t heard of John le Carré, you’ve been living under a rock, much like I was before May of this year. Well, let’s say before May of last year, because the film was coming out and the actors… well. I have thing.
You’ve read the blurb, seen the film, or the previous adaptation, and you have an idea of the plot. You know there are spies and there are moles. You know that a veteran spy is given the task to find a mole amongst friends and possibly clear himself as a suspect. And you know that the veteran spy is George Smiley.
What you don’t know is that this is a slow book. This is all about paperwork, talking to other people, collecting data, and piecing the clues together. There aren’t any explosions or high speed car chases. There are guns, bullets, and gun fights but they’re not glamorous.
This book is about mind games.
What you realise as soon as you pick up the book, whether it be a translation or not, is that le Carré’s writing style either speaks to you or it doesn’t. It’s simple, it’s precise. It focuses on the actions rather than descriptions, but there is description too.
Since finishing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, I’ve read several other le Carré’s novels and I’ve enjoyed them all. None as much as this one, but the writing, it speaks to me. Even through the translations, it speaks to me. ...more
I am so thoroughly disgusted with this book that I can’t even logically explain my utter revulsion. Ender’s Game reads like propagandaI am disgusted.
I am so thoroughly disgusted with this book that I can’t even logically explain my utter revulsion. Ender’s Game reads like propaganda, and the characters in it are living it. It wasn’t until I saw the comparison to Adolf Hitler that I thought of Hitler Junge, but it makes sense. These kids are brainwashed into becoming soldiers, killers, and they’re never given a choice.
Except it’s much worse than that. Ender actually learns to doubt, to disobey, to choose, and he chooses wrong. (view spoiler)[He chooses mass murder. To add insult to injury, he writes a book about it and gives voice to the voiceless, to the dead. (hide spoiler)] How is that different from any other conqueror rewriting the history to suit them?
If this were a normal review, I’d remark upon the failed, nonexistent characterisations, the lack of character growth or lessons learned, the lack of actual challenges overcome (how can he overcome anything when he never fails?), the lack of plot that isn’t told in short paragraphs as in passing. But this isn’t a normal review and I’m just going to link you to better articles about the story itself.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
You know that moment you and start a book you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t. Maybe you’ve had trouble finding a copy of it or maybe all the hypeYou know that moment you and start a book you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t. Maybe you’ve had trouble finding a copy of it or maybe all the hype around it has turned you off or maybe you’re not quite sure you’ll like the book simply because of who wrote it and when and why. And then you fall head over heels in love.
Whenever I read a classic, I prepare myself for the inevitable disappointment. In my experience, too many of the great works of literature only represent some form of change in the history of written words and the society that influenced them rather than being good books. If there is any true deeper meaning on the pages of a classic, it’s usually buried under too many decades or centuries of years passed for me to understand.
That wasn’t the case here. For every layer I discovered there were at least two I missed and there’s nothing I love better than subtle complexity, obvious to see for those who’d only look.
It wasn’t just the story describing and showing what life was like a hundred years ago for a young man, what it was like to fall in love and know it could cost him everything, it was the writing I fell in love with. The way Forster uses words to say exactly what he means to and more. How elegant it is.
Maurice was written on the cusp of The Great War and it tells a story of a world long since lost. It shows a young man growing up to take his place in society as he’s expected, and finding himself fundamentally queer in a time when homosexuality was still a crime in Britain. That law is the reason the manuscript remained unpublished for 57 years until after Forster’s death.
I wasn’t even recommended the book; it was the film I saw raved about. When I have the option, I usually prefer to read the book first and see the film second. Having now both read the book and seen the film, I have to say I prefer Forster’s words over the acting of James Wilby, Hugh Grant, and Rupert Graves. And I liked the casting despite Wilby being nothing like the Maurice I imagined until that last scene with Grant.
You’ll notice that I haven’t actually said anything about the story or the characters and that’s because it’s better if you go in blind without expectations. Skip the introductions, acknowledgements, notes on further reading, skip everything and read E. M. Forster’s own words. Read Maurice....more
I have a huge soft spot for bad boys and knowing that, you'd think I'd love a story about Darth Vader, the ultimate bad boy in scifi and how he regainI have a huge soft spot for bad boys and knowing that, you'd think I'd love a story about Darth Vader, the ultimate bad boy in scifi and how he regains his place as the second in command in Palpatine's new Empire. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.
I'm not a fan of the art. This time it isn't about my general reticence when it comes to comics, this time it was specific to these artists. There are some powerful moments within the story like Darth Vader kneeling before the Emperor right after his reassembly that worked well, but most of the time the graphics didn't enhance my reading experience, they quelled it.
When Darth Vader was haunted by Padmé and the family he didn't have, I was distracted by the weak lines and blurry features. The artists were probably aiming for a dreamlike quality, but all it made me think was that I could do better (I really can't.)
In the first pages it felt like the artists tried too hard to recapture the feel of the original movie trilogy, which shouldn't be reproduced (we all know George Lucas tried that and failed. And it's his world.) Later it just felt like a mishmash of original trilogy visuals mixed with the prequels. I would have liked the artist(s) to pick a style that was more distinctively their own to create some consistency.
Darth Vader and the Lost Command ends up shining only at the descriptions of action and the attack to an unnamed (I'm a fan, not an obsessive fan) planet in an unnamed star system. These are the least interesting bits of the story itself (to me they are) and in a way it balances things.
This was my first outing with the Star Wars comics and I have to say I'm disappointed. They had the perfect opportunity and perfect setting to play with Darth Vader and his coming to terms with his place in the Empire and they blew it.
Fortunately, in this case, disappointed isn't a synonym for discouraged. I shall learn to enjoy graphic novels. I shall!
I received a copy of this publication from the publisher through NetGalley....more
When at the tender age of fifteen(-ish) I heard this book had been banned, I borrowed it from my local library (they had to order it from another librWhen at the tender age of fifteen(-ish) I heard this book had been banned, I borrowed it from my local library (they had to order it from another library further away) and I read it. I can't say that I particularly enjoyed reading it, but neither do I remember enough to accurately rate it.
Christian Bale is the only reason why I tolerate the film version.
One thing I do know for sure, and that is that I won't be re-reading it. See comments for the reason why. ...more
If I were living in a bubble and had never head of a show called Castle I doubt I would be reading this highly entertaining but on the whodunnit-scaleIf I were living in a bubble and had never head of a show called Castle I doubt I would be reading this highly entertaining but on the whodunnit-scale somewhat simplistic book. But I'm not reading in a bubble and I do love the show so very much (although I'm a bit concerned with where they're heading), so I'm giving this glorified-official fanfiction four stars.
And when I say that my favourite parts were the not-so-subtle references and commentary to the show, you'll know enough to make up your mind whether to invest your time in reading this or not.
Now catch up so we can discuss, the show and the book both....more
A woman promised her husband to help him die when the disease took the last of his memories. A young girl’s older crush surprisingly returns the feeliA woman promised her husband to help him die when the disease took the last of his memories. A young girl’s older crush surprisingly returns the feeling. Their choices test the laws and morality.
This is the kind of language I used to like. The subtlety, the unlikely descriptions for most mundane actions, the unordinary word choices and poetry within prose. The only problem with is that it sounds pretentious. There simply isn’t a good way to express some of these things in Finnish without sounding like you’ve read way too much philosophy and literary theory. Which, I guess, the author has.
The characterisations were strong and filled this plotless book with their evolution. Each main character had their clearly articulated side to the story and they all learned something, or I’d like to think so. The open end lets the reader imagine their preferred outcome. Mine depends on my mood. Right now, I’m feeling more vindictive than understanding, but only towards one of the characters.
They’re making a theatre production of this, but I don’t want to see it....more
That was two parts of awesome (Dexter, Cory, Astor) and three parts of disappointing. Along with the disappearance of the Dark Passenger vanished my iThat was two parts of awesome (Dexter, Cory, Astor) and three parts of disappointing. Along with the disappearance of the Dark Passenger vanished my interest. I missed the snarky bastard.
I can see the appeal in the plot but the execution was severely lacking. Dexter's epiphanies of his nature and the nature of his companion were lackadaisical and the point of view switches from Dexter's first to the Observer's(?) third and back again were jarring. It's a tribute to the series - the book series, not the tv show, although that helps too - that I finished reading this book and gave it two stars instead of one.
It also didn't help that the author didn't fool me for a second with his choice of villains.
I can see why others would love this book, but I'm not one of those people. I simply lost interest half way through. Maybe it's because I'd seen and lI can see why others would love this book, but I'm not one of those people. I simply lost interest half way through. Maybe it's because I'd seen and loved the film first....more
You've read the blurb, you've seen the film trailer, and you think to yourself: "I'm going to get ahead of this and read it before the film comes out.You've read the blurb, you've seen the film trailer, and you think to yourself: "I'm going to get ahead of this and read it before the film comes out. That way I'm bound to love one version, preferably both." You think that and then you spend two days reading and then you're a mess. Oh, sorry, that's just me.
It's a very good book. Both the Goodreads and Amazon ratings say so. So says also the upcoming film adaptation - wait scratch that, it only actually says the book sold well. And why shouldn't it. It's after all a nifty idea of tell a love story spread over twenty years with quick snippets acting as glances into the characters' lives always on the same day of the year. July 15th. What could be greater? Yeah, well, it's grows old quite fast and then the reader is left wondering why did the author hold on to that date, July 15th, so rigorously instead of varying it and showing those important moments he ended up only recapping in the current format.
There's a lot of telling going on instead of showing in general. There are years the day works and the characters have real discussions and show where they're at in their lives, but then there are the years and days when it's nothing but telling after telling - and I wouldn't be surprised to see a quick 30 second montage covering these bits in the film.
Also there's the fact that I spend majority of this book if not hating then actively disliking the male protagonist. I gleefully cheered when he walked into a doomed marriage and when it fell apart, although, it could have been worse (view spoiler)[since Sylvie was cheating on him from before their wedding and there was a slim chance that Dexter wasn't Jas' biological father. (hide spoiler)].
As much as I hated Dexter, I was far from pleased with Emma too for a long time, and I guess her mistakes (view spoiler)[- Phill, anyone? - (hide spoiler)] were supposed to even the score somehow. And it did, until his rushed redemption (view spoiler)[and achieved brief happiness. The quickness of it - it could just be a flaw of the format - set alarm bells ringing and the character death wasn't as big of a surprise as it should have been (hide spoiler)]. At least that's how I feel.
This story is supposed to be about both Em and Dex, Dex and Em, but the end just proves otherwise. It's clear from the first chapter that this friendship happens, because he chooses so. I was entertaining a small hope that she had a say around half way through - see my update: Finally - but this is just a story about how Dexter Mayhew grew up. A prolonged coming to age story, that never quite finishes.
In truth, that's part of the books magic. It's gritty and real and it says you'll always feel incomplete. In real life very few people - even forty somethings - feel all grown up and ready. Probably less so than the twenty somethings.
You might have noticed the scant use of the word friendship in this review. That's because this book feels like dysfunctional romance from the start, despite the characters actively claiming otherwise.
I just saw the word "maudlin" in Amazon's blurb. That's actually quite good one word summary for this book and for Dexter's character. It's probably also what I was feeling when I broke down in tears for the last fifty pages and stayed up until 4 am trying to see through my alternatively too wet or too dry eyes.
Despite all this, it's a good book. Better even than its average rating and given the choice I would reread it in a heartbeat. I just wouldn't pick up another book with the same formula without exceptionally good recommendations from my friends.
P.S. I was expecting to hate the date by the end of the book and I'm glad I'm not the only one - one of the characters says so too.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
There's this thing I like to call the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-effect. Some tie it to Inception instead, but for me that would oversimpliThere's this thing I like to call the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-effect. Some tie it to Inception instead, but for me that would oversimplifying things. Regardless what you call it, the basic idea is, you either get it or you don't.
However, in this case, it's difficult to get anything in the absence of substance.
The average rating of this book makes me think people are afraid to admit that even a revered author can sometimes write a book worth less than the paper it's printed on. And with the current electricity prices, the kindle edition is plain old robbery.
The writing is apathetic and detached making connecting with the characters impossible, which is very bad for a novel that's supposed to be character driven. It certainly isn't a good sign when the most unlikeable of the main three is the most relatable of the characters.
Kathy, the narrator, is insipid, back boneless shell of a human being who constantly bad mouths the supposed love of her life. The name calling, however, wasn't the only reason why the token romance of this book turned out be unconvincing and dubious at best.
In the end, it was the utter lack of emotion - and plot - that killed the story. I refuse to believe that anyone could be so dispassionate about sex with someone they claim to love, especially when the written description of their first sexual act nears rape - no consent was given or asked. That along with the decimation of the last plot strings downgraded this book from it's possible three star maximum to one. ...more
I'm pretty sure the book is actually better than the tree stars I gave it, but I can't help it, I saw the film first and maybe for the first time, I lI'm pretty sure the book is actually better than the tree stars I gave it, but I can't help it, I saw the film first and maybe for the first time, I like the film better.
Words on a paper and moving pictures on a screen are two completely different media, so I shouldn't be too harsh. What I loved about the book most, were the little things that didn't make on the film or which would have been impossible to adapt for the screen. Like how the witch Queen's end was hinted at, but never elaborated. Small strokes instead of hammering through my skull.
As for the ending, well, there we might have a tie. I do like all things emotional....more
What do you know, my first five stars since opening this account, or more importantly my first five stars to a book I've read in English. And I didn'tWhat do you know, my first five stars since opening this account, or more importantly my first five stars to a book I've read in English. And I didn't want to read this book. All I'd heard about it were good things and those tend to build up expectations that invariably fall flat.
I couldn't possibly find a well written, compact and concise story, now, could I. Oh, no.
In my disbelief and discontent, I considered giving it only four stars just because I couldn't find any horrible mistakes or plot holes. But I would have been wrong in that too. I still hate the first person point of view. I hate it enough for an extra star. ...more
I hate to be conformist, but there it is. Four stars. I didn't even guess the killer until the culprit was served on a platter to the reader. It was mI hate to be conformist, but there it is. Four stars. I didn't even guess the killer until the culprit was served on a platter to the reader. It was more about enjoying the road than the reaching the destination even if it was lined with mountains of trash.
And again, the acknowledgements, they were... I can't say like the cherry on top of a huge ice cream serving because I don't like cherries, but you get the gist. Don't you?...more